- A slow start in the US has taken its toll on UK stocks, with the FTSE 100 dropping sharply in afternoon trading as it once again fell below the 7550 mark.

Wall Street had a slow morning on Wednesday as trade concerns, possible interest rate cuts and indifferent quarterly results weighed on American stocks.

The UK's benchmark index closed 40 points, or 0.6%, lower at 7,539.50.


BP and Shell fell 2.6% to 529p and 1.4% to £25.57, respectively, while Premier Oil shed 3.3% to 78p, even as it boosted first-half production and lowered its cost guidance.

Mining giant BHP gained 0.2% to £20.34, despite it reporting a 1% fall in fourth-quarter iron ore production owing to a cyclone in Australia.

The fall was nevertheless in line with the company's revised guidance and it also exceeded its guidance for petroleum output.

Fellow miner Fresnillo shed 3% to 893p as it cut its full-year production guidance thanks to lower-than-expected ore grades and construction delays.

Chemicals company Johnson Matthey dropped 5.4% to £32.03 after reporting flat sales in a first quarter trading update.

Its full year guidance remains unchanged but the company said it expects performance to be 'more heavily weighted to the second half'.

Gambling operator GVC Holdings fell 0.9% to 603p after revealing in a second quarter trading update that like-for-like sales dropped 19% in the UK.

TalkTalk Telecom added 3.1% to 109p after the addition of new broadband customers helped it grow its headline revenue in the first quarter.

Over 50s insurer Saga bounced 13.3% to 48.6p on news that activist investor Elliott Advisors has taken a 5.1% stake in the business.

Construction group Galliford Try rallied 3.3% to 631p on the back of an upbeat first-half trading statement.

Consumer goods group UP Global Sourcing, which trades as Ultimate Products, surged 17.17% to 84.6p as it upgraded its annual profit guidance owing to better-than-expected sales in the second half.

Premier Foods fell 0.5% to 37.25p owing to higher revenue in the first quarter, underpinned by sales of the company's Ambrosia and Sharwood's brands.

Water utility Severn Trent declined 0.25% to £20.02, despite announcing that it had made a 'good' start to the new financial year and expected to deliver a full-year result in line with prior guidance.


Premium chocolatier Hotel Chocolat rose 2.8% to 365p after it announced a 14% increase in revenue to £132m for the year to 30 June.

Internet of Things investor Telit Communications fell 2.1% to 166.4p on guiding for a fall in first-half revenue owing to the sale of its automotive business.

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